While granting bail to an accused, Karnataka High Court held that the Bhang is not covered under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act).
Single judge bench comprising Justice K Nataraja noted that there is no scientific evidence to show that the Bhang is prepared out of either charas or ganja or ganja leaves and hence, it is not a prohibited drug or drink.
The bench also referred to the judgments given by Bombay High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court where it was held that NDPS Act doesn’t cover Bhang.
“Until the receipt of forensic science lab report, in order to confirm that this bhang is prepared out of the charas or ganja, the Court cannot come to any conclusion that the bhang is prepared out of the substance of ganja. Therefore, at present, I am agreeing with the judgments of the Bombay High Court as well as Punjab and Haryana High Court in the above said decisions that bhang is not covered under the NDPS Act,” the bench stated.
The police has arrested Rohan Kumar Mishra after seizing 29 kg of bhang and 400 grams of ganja from his possession. His bail application was rejected by a special court under the NDPS Act and then he approached the High Court.
The accused contended that he possessed 400 grams of ganja which was less than ‘small quantity’ under the NDPS Act. The accused submitted that Bhang is a drink normally sold in the lassi shops in North India and is not a prohibitory drug. He further added that the drink is used on the festival of Shivratri and is not banned.
The bench rejected the State’s contention that Bhang is made out of Ganja leaves which comes under the definition 2(iii)(c) of NDPS Act.
Justice Nataraja stated that bhang is a traditional drink, most people in North India, especially near the Shiva temples, consume bhang and it is also available in lassi shops like all other drinks.
The bench while referring to Section 2(iii)(a) and (b) of the NDPS Act pertaining to the usage of charas and ganja stated, “There is no scientific evidence before this Court to show that the Bhang is prepared out of either charas or ganja or ganja leaves. Since ganja leaves and seeds are excluded from the definition of ganja and nowhere in the NDPS Act the bhang is referred as a prohibited drink or prohibited drug.”
The bench added that even the State government has not issued any particular guidelines which specify Bhang as a prohibitory drug.
The bench granted bail to the accused subject to execution of a personal bond of ₹2 lakh, with two sureties of like amount.